U.S. Speedskating Dissidents Resubmit Proposal to Ban Accused Molester Andy Gabel

Published May 14th, 2015, Uncategorized

by Irvin Muchnick

 

The U.S. Speedskating Congress, in Minneapolis this weekend, faces a renewed push to revoke the membership of sport great Andy Gabel, who is rather conclusively established as having sexually abused Bridie Farrell and other underage skaters under his supervision. At the bottom of this post are links to our past coverage, much of it involving retired national-class athlete Eva Rodansky.

Below is the money passage of the text of a proposal at the convention that was submitted by a group headed by Rob Plum and including Rodansky. The full document (with contact information removed) is viewable at http://muchnick.net/gabelproposal.pdf.

Plum told me: “We all have long histories of volunteering our time and money for the betterment of USS. They cannot break our spirit.  We are not leaving the sport.”

*****

We propose that the US Speedskating (“USS”) Board of Directors (“Board”) revoke Mr. Andrew Gabel’s USS lifetime membership based on his 2013 admissions of an inappropriate relationship while a member of USS. The purpose of this proposal is to protect the USS membership and make USS an attractive candidate for sponsorship and participation.

Any member of the Board that has a close relationship with Mr. Gabel must recuse herself/himself from both discussing this proposal with other Board members and voting on this proposal.

  1. Background

An almost identical proposal was submitted to the Board last year.  That proposal was not brought up for vote by the Board. The proposal, at various stages of its life, has either been kicked down the road or summarily rejected by USS management based on a flawed interpretation of the decision rendered in a related grievance (see Attachments 1 and 2).

The salient facts remain unchanged:

  1. Mr. Gabel has been accused of molesting two minors when both they and he were members of USS.  Mr. Gabel was in his early 30’s at the time of these activities. The alleged molestation took place in the environs of either USS facilities or USS related activities.
  1. Mr. Gabel admitted to an inappropriate relationship with one or both of his accusers (see Attachments 3, 4 and 5).
  1. Mr. Gabel has had ample opportunity to tell his side of the story. One of these opportunities was the USS commissioned investigation conducted by the law firm Sidley Austin LLP.  Mr. Gabel declined to cooperate with that investigation.  Mr. Gabel was also aware of a grievance that requested his lifetime membership be revoked.  Mr. Gabel made the decision to not directly confront one of his accusers during the grievance hearing.
  1. There is nothing stopping Mr. Gabel from participating in any USS activity including either coaching or holding either elected or appointed positions at USS and member clubs.
  1. Mr. Gabel’s unwillingness to cooperate does not constitute innocence and, for the safety of the membership, Mr. Gabel’s membership should be revoked or, at a minimum, be suspended as directed by Sections 14.4, 14.5 and 14.6 (Disciplinary Matters)  of the USS Bylaws (see Attachment 6).  Section 14.4 specifically requires the Executive Director to take action if he has knowledge that a member has:

(i) violated one or more of US Speedskating’s rules, policies, procedures, and/or these Bylaws, or (ii) committed any acts or omissions involving malfeasance and/or conduct detrimental to the best interests of US Speedskating or the sport of speedskating, then the Executive Director (or his or her designee) shall gather such information as may be relevant. Such information gathering may include, without limitation, interviews with those individuals involved in the matter.

Regarding section [ii], Executive Director Morris has admitted in correspondence with Mr. Plum that adverse publicity generated by the Gabel incident is hurting USS:

We wholeheartedly agree that the continued publicity concerning this matter brings negative attention to U.S. Speedskating and it hurts our ability to raise the funds necessary to support our elite athletes and development programs.” (see Attachment 7)

 

FURTHER READING:

National Olympic Chief Blackmun Holds Up Sex Scandal-Plagued U.S. Speedskating — Like USA Swimming — As a ‘Model’ Governing Body. Some Model.

Published November 21st, 2013